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Palm Sunday Reflection | Fr. Jason Laguerta

Today is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Let us meditate on the theme: Let us not grow tired of moving forward. Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Holy Week and this is also Jesus’ entry - triumphant entry - into Jerusalem. We have to know, first of all, where he came from before moving to Jerusalem. He was in the region of Galilee for around three years, serving the people, preaching the Good News, healing the sick, performing miracles around the Sea of Galilee. We call it his active life, his ministry.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem as King | photo from Bible Study Tools

But time came when he decided to move up to Jerusalem. The journey to Jerusalem is his last pilgrimage. It is his last dance so to speak. The last journey of Jesus because we know what Jerusalem is for Jesus. Jerusalem will be his time of reckoning. Jerusalem will be his hour of giving himself. It is the hour appointed by the father for him to fulfill his will. If you were Jesus and you know very well what will happen to you in Jerusalem, you would be afraid. In fact, it happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. There was also fear in the heart of Jesus. Maybe because he did not know really what will happen. He had that foreknowledge of what will unfold but not exactly in its entirety. And in the Transfiguration moment when Moses and Elijah were describing to him his passion in Jerusalem, that was also the moment that he had to make a choice, a decision, whether he will move forward to Jerusalem. Peter, remember, suggested to Jesus, “Lord, it is good to be here in this mountain. Let us build three tents: one for you. one for Moses and Elijah.” But Jesus, of course, told Peter, “We go on our way, we move forward.” Even if he knew very well what will happen to him in Jerusalem, he was not afraid. Fear did not take over or capture his heart. He was determined, and there was resolve and commitment in his heart to go to Jerusalem.

Many of us are afraid of our Jerusalem. We don't want to enter Jerusalem because we don't want our life to be burdened with suffering, with trials, with problems. We shun and we shot out all the pains in our lives. We don't want the cross, we don't want crucifixion, we don't want any passion, we just want life to be bearable, happy, and nice, sanitized. Of course there's something wrong with that. We all want to have a happy life, a problem-free life, we all want that. As much as possible, we don't want Jerusalem in our lives. So the Palm Sunday celebration the re-entry into Jerusalem is Jesus way of saying, “I will not be afraid to enter the city where I will be crucified.” When he entered Jerusalem, it was clear in his mind, there was resolve in his heart, “I will face my Jerusalem. I will embrace it fully.”

The challenge of Palm Sunday is let us not grow tired of embracing our cross. Let us not grow tired of embracing our Jerusalem. Life is hard nowadays. Many of us are suffering. Many of us have problems in the home, in the workplace, as a country, as a community of nations. The world today is filled with so much suffering. In fact, as Pope Francis would say, “The world is sick.” And many times, we don't want to embrace it. Many times, we are afraid of moving forward. But the Lord tells us in his entry to Jerusalem, “We shall not be afraid. We will embrace our end, no matter how painful it is. We will hold our ground. We will be courageous. We will rely on the help of God.”

As we wave our palms, as we sing hosanna to the son of David, we have to remember: yes, it was a triumphant entry, but it was also a dangerous one. Jesus knew very well. The end, the hour has come. He is not afraid, he's willing to do it, to give it all for our sake. Remember, when we are saying hosanna, what it actually means is: “Save us. O Lord. Save us from our fears. Save us from our doubts. Save us from the many things that oppress us, from the many things that debilitate us and make us weak. Lord help us not to grow tired of trying of moving forward in her journey. Life is a journey, and it is important that we keep on moving forward even if we know that the direction we are heading is our Jerusalem.

Yes, Jerusalem will be very hard, but Jerusalem will also tell a different ending so brothers and sisters, let us enter Jerusalem with a triumphant Jesus. As he sits on his donkey, as he is acclaimed by all the people, let us gather our strength from him. Let us not be afraid of Jerusalem. Let us not grow tired of moving forward.

Transcribed by Kovie Kraft

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